A granddaughter bonds with her grandfather as she helps him confront the regrets of his youth in Glory Kadigan‘s riveting play featuring David L. Carson as Robert, a former surgeon having served in Guadalcanal during World War 2. Through magical realism, Kadigan’s work explores the regrets of his youth and how his granddaughter helped him confront them. Broadway veteran, Tonya Pinkins, helms this premiere at the Theatre at the 14th Street Y, 344 E 14th St, New York City.
Planet Connections Theater Festivity in partnership with The Theater at the 14th Street Y present a powerful new play written by Glory Kadigan and directed by Broadway veteran, Tonya Pinkins
The production features Mehret Marsh,* June Ballinger,* Perri Yaniv,* David L. Carson,* Mary Monahan, and Gina Lemoine
Running January 11-26. Tickets available at https://14streety.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0S36000007OsctEAC.
PERRI YANIV WILL BE APPEARING ON PASSIONPIT on PODBEAN next week but here is a taste of the conversation.
TWMA is his fifth show in a row in just under a year.
Gonzalo Ezequiel Brea, photo credit
Tell us about yourself as an artist?
I love to think of actors as artists because as actors, we have the must create and manifest within ourselves. I always think of the artistry of our physical bodies. As an actor, my body is my paint brush AND my canvas. I’m constantly trying to assimilate myself to look more like how I imagine the character I’m playing, that’s what I want an audience to see first. Stephen Spinella is someone I really admire because I rarely recognize him before I’m halfway through any play he’s in, so I guess I aspire to that level of commitment.
What does this play “say” to you? Can you relate?
Till We Meet Again really speaks to how impressionable children are, and how we never really lose that part of ourselves, as we become impressionable adults. As an actor it’s been a phenomenal experience watching Glory and Tonya weave new yarns into this vast tapestry that finds ways to show all wars as one endless war, and how an entire civilization can exist within this one particular family, at once savage and pristine.
This play packs a punch. What is your process as an actor when you are involved in a piece with such subject matter?
Because there is a lot of information in the play, it’s about getting very specific about what your character does not know, getting very specific in each moment about what they think they know, and how that affects their behavior with the other characters. I don’t usually do a lot of back-story because I’m usually more focused on physical-emotional life in a given moment of the story the audience is witnessing, but story-telling is so important in this play that getting character histories in order has been imperative to to arriving at the moments that happen in front of the audience. The cast is doing a wonderful job of discovering all these layers for each moment, and Tonya is doing a great job of putting it all together and remains incredibly committed to guiding us into the pathways that really make these characters snap crackle and pop. It feels like a high-wire act!
Tell us your thoughts on independent theater – What purpose does it serve both to the artist community and New York audiences.
Look- everyone says it’s tough out there, and it is, but ultimately you have to make it work. I’ve been very fortunate to find communities within the indie theater scene and it makes the work even more joyful. Finding your tribe (or tribes) is key. I always imagine high school cafeterias where your posse is at the table. The camaraderie is like nothing else in the world. I wish I had all the financial and logistical solutions to the myriad of issues companies face trying to produce work in this prohibitively expensive city. We’re always trying to do more with less, and I think the companies who survive have learned how to pace themselves…store your powers and then do less with more. Companies like The Assembly. New York Classical, Nylon Fusion, Hudson Warehouse, Brave New World, and Barefoot Theatre Company all have inventive and creative leadership that build what feels like a legacy of one brilliant season after another, but then they’ll disappear for a bit and marinate on the next idea. I know for a fact there are extreme sacrifices of all kinds to make that happen. We live with the desire to inspire, and companies have cleared unimaginable hurdles to keep that alive here. When you compare that to the commercial realm (which is a whole other ballgame of sacrifice, complication, and difficulty), there’s something more immediate in the indie realm; we have less time to produce and so it’s easier to incorporate current events, there’s less emphasis on the power of the producer and trust is within the ensemble. That’s why I think it’s so critical to have your antenna out here; this city feeds you in so many ways if you can ride the wave, and then as artists we get to filter it and give it back to the audience with a pretty quick turnaround. It’s a wild ride.
What’s next for you?
After 5 productions in 9 months (The BedBug, Raft of the Medusa, Caligula, The Brutes, and Till We Meet Again), I’ll be taking a nap! It’s been such a wonderful year for me as an actor I’m eager to cultivate other parts of my creativity and then find a way to feed it to my acting. Maybe I’ll take up painting…The quest always continues!